Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet surprise

I inserted my photo card today and found these of Bailey and Kiwi with the kids. We miss her dearly. I hate being an adult some days. I hate what we had to do- but I'm so glad that it's done. Her pain and suffering are over. And I hate that our pain lives on. I hate to think that there are less responsible people walking this earth who would let a sweet animal suffer.

Anyway, these pictures were taken exactly one week before- before it happened. In the midst of everything, I forgot that I took them. She went downhill fast. Miss you old girl!

We had a picnic/ tea party outside- Bailey and Kiwi got chicken nuggets and hot dogs and a few cupcakes for dessert.

This was actually taken a few days earlier than the picnic photos

She sure was beautiful- Gosh I miss her. It brings tears to my eyes to see here here...

This was taken right after we found out she had cancer. We found out when Luke was exactly a week old, August 5. I'll never forget it. It was my original due date, Luke's one week birthday and Mom's birthday too.

The cancer took her fast. But, I'm glad she didn't suffer for very long. I know Emily Grace didn't understand what was happening but she knew that Bailey didn't feel good and needed her love. Funny how Bailey always watched over her, and here, at the innocent age of three, Emily Grace returned the favor as best she could.

What a sweet surprise to have those pop up on my computer today. The tears never stop flowing for our sweet girl but she knows they're tears of love.

I had a dream about her last week. I rarely dream any more but it was a good one. She was her old self, running and playing with her tongue hanging out. That goofy old tongue always was too big for her mouth. The dream is too much to explain but it helped. God was telling me that she's alright... she's with Him now and she's happy and at peace.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who is who?

In the wake of the loss of our beloved Bailey, it's hard to smile. I feel guilty for enjoying a day- for having fun with my kids and my sweet little Kiwi. But, I'm a mom first. Bailey was my baby but now the rest of the family needs me. I can't stop being a mom and a wife. I need to laugh- I need to enjoy the precious moments that God has given us. So, I'm not moving on from Bailey or forgetting her, I'm just savoring the amazing blessings before me.
With that said- I need to document, document, document before I forget the little things and get lost in this sea of sadness, joy, bottles, poop, crayons and tutu's...

Luke is already a month old. A WHOLE MONTH! Time sure does fly when they're so little... I wish it would slow down so that I could savor it a little more!

So many people have asked if Luke looks like Emily Grace when she was this age... Keep in mind that she was a whopper- a whole pound and an ounce heavier than him when she was born. So what do you think?
In the Hospital:

Luke in the Hospital

Emily Grace in the hospital (notice they both have that little popeye on the left side?)


Luke at one week

Emily Grace at one week


Luke at Two Weeks

Emily Grace at two weeks


Luke at One Month

Emily Grace just a little over One Month

Last one- and this is SO mean but it's more for a laugh than anything:
Luke Screaming

Emily Grace Screaming
Do you see any family resemblance?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Tribute to the best dog in the world...

When Chris first moved to Greensboro, he didn't know a soul except the people he worked with. It takes a lot to move to a new city where you know nobody. But he had his trusty side-kick, Bailey. She was his pride and joy. He'd call me in Clemson and tell me about the new tricks she had learned or what trail they walked that day or about the ducks and geese that she so elegantly made scatter, squawking and honking furiously, from the local pond.

(Bailey ran all of the kids out of the baby pools at Emily Grace's first birthday party. She loves some water! Ivy encouraged her little girl, Riley to get back in- I think her exact words were "A little dog -water never hurt anybody!")

I will be eternally grateful to that dog for the companionship that she gave Chris during those first two years, and ever since.

She has been there for every important moment in our relationship. I got her for Chris (he picked her out) for his graduation gift from Clemson. She was our "Bargain Bailey." Her momma had gotten loose and had a little get-together with the gentle-dog down the street- luckily another pure bred Golden Retriever... but "Romeo's" owners never sent in his papers, nor did they ever get him fixed. So, the bargain pups arrived just in time for Chris to pick one out. We paid $75 for that old girl and it's the BEST money we've ever spent.

(All four of us, camping... in that one little tent. Fun night... but Bailey LOVED it!)

Her first night with us was at my parent's house. Since we weren't married yet, Chris was in the guest room on the pull-out sofa bed. But she didn't whine or whimper all night like another dog we know (uh hum... Kiwi), instead she got up and wanted to play... or so Chris thought. So what else is logical than to play with a brand new puppy on a bed? Nope, she wanted to use the facilities. Right there on his future in-laws guest room bed, she let out a whiz. Chris was so embarrassed but we all laughed; lesson learned... and by coincidence, the sofa got thrown out shortly there-after.

I never finished reading Marley and Me. I knew how it ended and it reminded me too much of our Bailey. I know now that I never will finish that book. The movie was hard enough to sit through. But that Marley has nothing on the hi jinx that our Bailey girl pulled.

(Last winter during the 8" snow storm, Emily Grace found it fun to throw ice chunks to Bailey. Bailey caught EVERY ONE.. and then ate them. )

(Bailey is such a good sport- even when we make her look like the Easter Bunny)
Once, right after we got married, she tricked me into thinking that Chris had stolen 16 rainbow confetti cupcakes in foil wrappers off of a plate and taken them to work. I called to fuss at him only to find out that he didn't take the cupcakes. "but the plate is CLEAN!" I shouted to Chris. "There isn't a crumb on it! Where on earth did all of those cupcakes go?" The answer was right around the corner, on her back, legs sprawled out, belly extremely bloated. Yep, she at them ALL and left NO evidence (including those foil wrappers) other than her rather swollen belly and the rainbow concoction that she proceeded to throw up in the yard.
(Our first Christmas picture- Bailey came with us to Boone to cut down our first tree)

She was so slick that she even stole Kimi's eggs right off of her plate while Kimi was sitting right there! Kimi turned left, Bailey snuck up from the right, took the eggs and hauled a$$ to the corner to CHOW DOWN. Kimi turned right one second too late and found that her entire Huddle House carton was empty. We've never laughed so hard!

She once ate an entire chocolate bar that Cole, Chris' roommate for a while in Greensboro before we got married, left sitting on the coffee table while he and Chris went out for dinner. Poor Cole was amazed and, I think, a little disappointed that his dessert was now in a dog's stomach.

(Roommate reunion- Chris, Bailey and Cole at Chris' 30th birthday)

And I remember a certain Christmas where Bailey stole an entire package of JUMBO bagels off of Don and Lisa's kitchen counter. That same night, Christmas Eve, while we were at church, Bailey stole a pack of hamburger buns for our sloppy joe's off of the same counter. You'd think we would have learned to clear the counters before we left the house. That dog LOVES bread products.
(Bailey with a spare hamburger bun- her guilty pleasure...)

I've only met this one dog who could turn an absolute anti-dog sorority girl into a dog lover. Jacqueline- we have renewed faith that those who don't like dogs, can! Jacqueline was not so much afraid of dogs but really just not a fan of dogs... until she met our Bailey. I don't know if she likes any other dogs now, or just our sweet Bailey-girl, but I'm so glad that bond was created. Thanks Jacq for being a friend to our golden girl.

There was a Clemson game too where Kate brought on of those frozen shrimp rings to the tail gate. Yes, Bailey came to every Clemson tailgate with us. And as we all sat, a tad tipsy, enjoying our shrimp, either Ashlee or Oberg noticed that Bailey, the smart girl that she is, was quietly lurking behind our tailgating chairs collecting and catching the shrimp tails as we threw them over our shoulders. By the time we realized it, she had probably eaten 30 shrimp tails! Talk about a stomach of STEEL!
Even as recent as about a month ago, our old girl was stealing food. Emily Grace was at Mimi and Papa's house and had a cereal bar in her hand. As most three-year-olds do, she was paying more attention to the tv than to her food and apparently Bailey walked right up and helped herself. The next thing Don and Lisa heard was Emily Grace exclaiming "BAILEY! THAT'S NOT NICE!" When they came to ask her what was wrong she just pointed to Bailey and said, "Bailey took my cereal bar..." Sorry kid- survival of the fittest. Bailey was on the hunt.

(Last Christmas- Bailey playing dres up with Emily Grace's new princess set)

(Bailey staring down Emily Grace's popsicle)

She loved to chase balls and hunt sticks. Don and Chris would take her hunting to Michigan every October. Poor Don- I really hoped he'd get to take her to Michigan one more time. I think (I know really) that he loved her as much as we do. One time Chris "caught" a deer (I don't like to say "killed") and as it hung for whatever reason they hang deer, Bailey came around the corner. She was so spooked by it that she hunched down low and growled that deep threatening growl and then whimpered and ran from it like a little chicken. She's such a goof! She was not really a hunting dog, but always a companion, willing to keep any bed or couch warm during the day for Chris. Chris tried to teach her to hunt but when the gun went off she shot away from him with her tail between her legs and hid under the truck. That's my kind of dog- I feel the same way about guns! And she always had a stick. Whether it was a limb from our back yard or the biggest tree limb she could find in Michigan or a piece of wood from a wood pile behind Don's garage, or just mulch from the front yard flower beds, she always had a stick of some sort. I often wondered what swallowing all of those splinters would do to her but it never seemed to phase her. She was that tough. And she was that much of a goof. One of those limbs in Michigan really gave her a run for her money. She was so proud and came prancing up to the camp with a good 6 foot limb to show to Don and Chris. The only thing was, it didn't clear all of the trees. I got a good laugh listening to that story from them. I can see her prancing proudly and then pondering how to fit this giant gem through such a narrow opening. Apparently she figured it out though. She turned her head with that giant stick and made it fit, so proud do show her daddy and Papa. God must know how much I'm going to miss her.

(Bailey with her giant stick- it had to be 6 ft long)

(Keeping the couch warm for Don, Chris and Uncle Jimmy at the deer camp during the day)
(Always by Chris' and Emily Grace's sides)

(Bailey loved the snow! She would sit and wait to go outside when it had snowed- she'd chomp at the flakes in the sky and tuck her butt and spurt off into the snow like a giddy little pup every time it snowed.)

(Our first wedding anniversary at our brand new house)

Even when she broke her paw chasing a tennis ball, she wouldn't quit. The bone was completely broken but instead of whimpering and going in the house to lick her wound, she brought the ball back, covered in slobber as usual, and begged for more. The only difference was that she was holding that one paw up just a bit. We had to make her quit-you could see in her eyes that it broke her heart to drop the ball and go inside but she did: always obeident and loyal. It wasn't until a few days later that we realized that bone was broken. Man, she is a good dog.

(Bailey chased Chris and Emily Grace on that sled about 30 times that day- they kept sledding and she kept running)
(Halloween 2008- Chris wouldn't let me get a giant ladybug costume for Bailey- but I would have!)

During both pregnanies, she abandonded her post at Chris' bedside and many nights slept by my side. She's always been "our dog" but in her head, I know she's truly been Chris' dog. It surprised me so much to see how loyal and protective she was of me. But she knew- I guess she sensed that something amazing was growing and might need some extra love or protection. And during those few fragile months of my pregnancies, I found her more often nearer me than usual. I couldn't ask for a more loyal friend. I'll never be able to explain what that protectiveness and love meant to me.
(Easter 2008- the before shot- Poor Chris had the job of getting the two goofy dogs and one kid to look at the camera)
(Amazingly, he did it!)

When we brought Emily Grace home I was so worried about Bailey's enormous 95- pound body next to such a tiny baby. But she knew. She was gentle and loving and as Emily Grace grew, Bailey stayed as gentle as ever. She let her pull her hair and climb on her and jump on her and sit on her. But that obedient old dog just let her go. Her eyes seemed to say "get this kid off of me... but not just yet, I'm kind of enjoying it..." When Emily Grace would cry, Bailey would either stand next to the crib waiting for someone to come find this fragile noisy thing, or she would come to the door and stare at us as if to say "mom- she needs you again." Her eyes were never mean- always gentle and full of love. She still has those gentle eyes, but they're a little sadder now. She can't come get me when Luke cries but I see her lift her head and look in his direction. I think she wants to go to him, she just can't. I think the desire to go to him hurts her as much as watching her in pain hurts us.
(The day we brought Emily Grace home from the hospital)

(This video is hilarious! It is true Bailey and Emily Grace interaction. Emily Grace is much gentler now but there was definately a learning curve on both parts... )

So, we're going to have to comfort Kiwi. She'll be lost without her Bailey. When we brought Kiwi home, Bailey had no idea what to do with such a tiny little squirt. Kiwi nestled right up to Bailey and while Bailey tolerated this fuzz ball's affections, you could tell she was quite worried about hurting her. Bailey seemed to rise up on her tippy toes because when ever she'd try to walk, Kiwi would do figure 8's between her legs. It was 95 pounds versus 2 pounds. She could have crushed Kiwi- but she didn't. She was our gentle giant. And it was funny to watch. Poor dog. I hate now that we laughed.

I also have to explain to Emily Grace that Bailey is going to be with Jesus. I can't seem to get the words out without crying. She's going to ask "where's my Bailey Dog?" That question is going to break my heart. I dread hearing those words.

And I regret that Luke will never know the most amazing animal God ever created. A boy should have a dog like her. I hate that he won't get his chance to know how lovely she was.

(This is one of the only pictures that we have with Luke AND Bailey- she's too weak now to take another good one. I'm so happy we have this to remember.)

And lastly, I dread looking into Chris' eyes when he brings her home to bury her tomorrow. She's his dog. Since the first day when she peed on his bed, she's been his dog. When he decided to ask me to marry him, she was there, by his side as loyal and loving as ever, proud to be a part of our moment. And now, he's staying by hers, until the sad end that is coming too quickly.
But, letting an animal suffer, letting a friend, my baby, be in pain like she is, is just cruel. We can't watch her struggle any longer.

So here's to the cupcake theif, the chocolate theif, the bagel theif, the egg theif, the shrimp tail lover, the stick hunter, the ball chaser, the best $75 money could buy. We love you old girl- we always will. You are worth more than your weight in GOLD. Our hearts are breaking to say good-bye but I truly believe that all dogs go to heaven. I know you will find the giant cupcake in the sky.

We will never stop loving you, Bailey.
November 16, 2001- August 30, 2010